The Keep Sydney Open movement has been growing steadily louder ever since Entrepreneur CEO Matt Barrie‘s lament to Sydney‘s nightlife went viral two weeks ago, which spurred a maelstrom of criticism against NSW Premier Mike Baird, a hospitality industry-led movement to ban Baird from their venues, and more hot takes on the issue than we can count.

The anti-lockout law momentum is now coming to a head, with the KSO folks organising a massive rally this weekend in protest.

Bringing the metaphor to life in a very real way, they’ll be holding a mock-funeral to all the closed venues, small businesses, and jobs that have been lost since the lockout laws came into effect.

Anti-Lockouts Rally To Hold Mock Funerals For Closed Venues This W/E

The rally starts at Belmore Park next to Central Station around 12:30pm this Sunday, before making its way into the CBD just after 1pm and heading to the iconic and soon-to-be-closed pub Bar Century.

The ever-growing list of people speaking thus far include Isabella Manfredi from The Preatures, Dave Faulkner from Hoodoo Gurus, and Crikey political editor Bernard Keane, with performances from Art vs Science and Royal Headache. (More tbc.)

Rally organisers are working to get the harsh lockout laws softened / new license freeze nixed, as well as asking the government to actively engage with the industries affected in working towards a safer city that doesn’t stink of nanny state bullshit.

They’re asking for:

  • Lockout exemptions for licensed premises that are predominantly live music venues
  • An end to the new license freeze for predominantly live music venues and small bars
  • The lifting of restrictions on retail hours
  • Late-night public transport, like in Melbourne
  • The introduction of a Night Mayor, like in Amsterdam and Berlin
  • An invitation from a government to discuss next steps in partnership with those whose livelihoods depend on the music and cultural industries thriving in Sydney
  • Police to work with not against the responsible venues who provide safe nights out in a global city

Organisers are hoping that this’ll be the rally to finally affect some bloody change to these lockout laws, citing the 2010 rally in Melbourne which effectively saved the city from Sydney’s current affliction.

“The turnout [at that rally] was estimated to be 17,000 people and is attributed with being instrumental in the removal of the Melbourne lockout in favour of other measures like supporting the live music scene, increasing police presence in the CBD and implementing 24-hour transport on the weekend.”

If you’re keen for a protest w/ some family-friendly placards, get amongst the Facebook event HERE; at the time of writing, 1.5k people have already clicked ‘attending’. 

Last year, we went along to the Reclaim The Night rally / dance party – here’s what the people said: